Survivors Speak Out At USCCB Meeting

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Catholic Education, Faith, Queens, NY

By Michelle Powers

Clutching pictures of themselves at the age they were first abused, survivors walked in silence. A protest against the Church, they say, didn’t speak up for them.

“I now have will finally have an answer to the question I’ve wait my whole life to see, does canon law outweigh federal law?,” said Shaun Dougherty. He finally came forward about his abuse during Pennsylvania’s recent attorneys general investigation. He had hoped change was coming to the church with new rules governing bishops. But he was disappointed.

“At the insistence of the Holy See we will not be voting on the two action items in our documentation regarding the abuse crisis,” said Cardinal DiNardo. He said the Holy See is insisting the Bishops wait to vote until after the Pope’s February meeting focused on sexual abuse.

Cardinal Blaise Cupich stood up and recommended the bishops still vote, even if it’s non-binding. “We can benefit from the discussions that happen in February and, in fact, may find some new insights we have not thought of. But we need to act soon, without delay,” said Cupich. Cardinal Cupich also suggested that the U-S Bishops hold a special meeting in March to begin immediately enacting new protocols following the Vatican’s February summit.

The Bishops also officially heard from several survivors during their day of prayer and reflection Monday. Luis Torres is from the Diocese of Brooklyn and has found hope in the dioceses’ efforts since the Dallas Charter, enacted in 2002. “Abuse of a child is the closest that you can get to murder and still possibly have a breathing body before you,” said Torres. “The Diocese of Brooklyn particularly through its VAC, Victim Assistance Coordinator, has demonstrated to me its willingness to share in my journey and its commitment to restoring faith, where once I only knew betrayal,” he added.